Story: Three Graces
Challenge: Rainbow Sherbert #3 - Yellow
Word Count: 764
Summary: David did something wrong and now he'd better put it right.
Notes: I tried to keep three things in my head in this: sand, hair and cowardice. I mentioned the first two but couldn't find the words for the third...
The dust clinging to the boots inches from his eyes looked unusually yellow today. Fresh, new; he could almost catch the tang of desert scent.
Shame about what it was dusted over. He let his gaze slide upwards. It could only reach the shins before the effort was too much. “I don’t feel like it.”
“I don’t care.” The feet shifted slightly as their owner leaned down and wrapped their fingers in his hair, dragging David to his knees. “Your presence has been requested.”
He squinted against the pain, rubbing at his sore scalp and trying not to touch the hand that was still buried in the unruly mass. “When is it not?”
The lips of the guard quirked into something approaching a smile. They managed that, sometimes, although he wasn’t always sure if it was a good thing. The fingers mercifully loosened, if only because he was already moving to stand; if he’d stayed on his knees they’d have stayed in his hair. “Hands.”
They were already moving forward, ready for the cuffs, as the words left his mouth. Years of practice. “So what’s new?” He tried idle conversation at times. It didn’t usually succeed - he was pretty sure they were given express orders not to engage with him - but he tried it anyway, for the hell of it. Because he knew that it wasn’t something Mr. Black liked. And anything he disliked had to be worth trying.
There was, as expected, no response except for a firm hand on his shoulder, propelling him forwards. Both the walk to the elevator and the journey to the top floor passed in silence. His scalp still stung from his earlier encouragement, he didn’t need to add to it with a slap for impudence.
The table was an island of piled parts in the center of the cavernous hall; David’s heart plummeted, although only to around his knees before the voice to one side, close enough to tickle the tangled hair at his neck, froze it in its tracks. “A pleasure to see you again, Mr. Deor.”
He said the words without fail every time David was escorted into the room, and they never ceased to chill his blood. Sometimes he was able to force out a dry-mouthed witticism that, if he was lucky, went unnoticed. This time he could only open and close his mouth a few times, breath catching in his throat. This time, there was an edge to the voice.
The guard’s hand had slid from his shoulder in the elevator - where was he going to run to? - and now it was replaced by Mr. Black’s iron grip, hard enough to make the blond squirm as his joints creaked under the pressure. “Come with me, Mr. Deor.”
It wasn’t like he had much choice. The distance between himself and the table suddenly seemed much greater as he was forced towards it, each clack of Black’s shoes a gunshot in the high-ceilinged chamber. As he got nearer, the haphazard heap of technology started to look depressingly familiar.
“Do you remember this, David?” Again the voice, deep, low and angry, hissed by his ear.
He nodded slowly, swallowing.
The table was in touching distance when his head suddenly slammed down towards it, Black’s hand hard against his skull. Only slapping his palms against the edge and pushing, so hard he thought his arms would break, stopped his face inches above the jagged metal edges. “If you remember it,” the voice snarled above him, “then why didn’t it work?”
“I don’t know!” He gasped, trying to push back with no discernable effect except to make the fingers dig more painfully into his scalp. “It should’ve done!”
The sudden absence of pressure sent him stumbling backwards a few steps before he fell over himself and hit the floor, heart pounding. Now ahead of him, Black didn’t waste the effort to turn around and look at his pet specialist. “Fix it. Now.”
David got shakily to his feet, bare soles suddenly clammy against the wooden floor. Something must have been missing; he hadn’t hidden anything for ages, not since— something had to have not been present in the first place; it had made every indication it’d work in his tests... None of which he dared say aloud. It didn’t matter what the reason was. The fact was that it didn’t work and it was his fault. The parts were heavy in his trembling hands. There was no reason why—
When he looked up from the mounded mess, Black had vanished.